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President Joe Biden visited a minority-owned flooring company in suburban Philadelphia to explore how his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan would benefit small companies and to put a face to those who have suffered through the pandemic.
The visit to Smith Flooring Inc. on Tuesday was Biden’s first stop on a cross-country administration roadshow aimed at publicizing and taking credit for the virus relief package, which also included his vice president and his wife.
During his visit to the tiny union shop that would benefit from the relief, Biden made a sly dig at Republicans, saying, “It took some loud, powerful voices to get this done.” “And it’s not like it got 100 votes to pass. It was a close call.”
While Biden was in Pennsylvania for the first stop on his “Help is Here” tour, Vice President Kamala Harris and her partner, Doug Emhoff, were in Colorado on Tuesday, reinforcing the small business theme.
Lorena Cantarovici, who started making empanadas in her garage after emigrating from Argentina, told Harris and Emhoff about how her small shop developed over the years into three Maria Empanada locations but was forced to lay off staff when the coronavirus hit during a business roundtable in Denver.
She reported that 80 percent of her team returned as a result of previous relief efforts, but that it would take two years to return to full capacity and “recover all of this loss.” By leaving with empanadas in tow, Harris and Emhoff did their part.
More than 90 percent of the artisans represented by Gabriela Salazar’s Colorado Artisans in Denver are unemployed or receiving unemployment benefits, according to Salazar. Salazar, a 30-year small business owner, told Harris that the Small Business Administration’s assistance has “held me afloat,” but that “more is needed.”
Meanwhile, Smith Flooring in Pennsylvania had 23 employees at peak periods but now has just 12 employees. The loan will be used to help attract employees and update technology. Borrowers who follow such conditions, such as allocating at least 60% of the proceeds to payroll expenditures, are liable for forgiveness.
In his talk with the owners of Smith Floors, Biden repeatedly inquired about “what else” his administration could do to assist small businesses like theirs.
The Senate confirmed Isabel Guzman, Biden’s nominee to head the Small Business Administration, on Tuesday in Washington. She is expected to play a crucial role in the relief bill’s implementation.
Biden is attempting to illustrate how the assistance package will change the country by halving child poverty, stimulating record levels of hiring, and distributing funds to parents, teachers, and state and local governments. It’s a stark contrast to the beginning of Biden’s presidency, when vaccination targets were ambitious and Americans were warned that the country would not return to normal until Christmas.
According to the Biden administration, the pandemic has forced the closure of 400,000 small businesses, with millions more struggling to stay afloat. A $28 billion grant program to fund restaurants and drinking establishments is part of his assistance package. It also provides $15 billion in grant money that can be used in some way.
The trip to Smith Flooring was intended to emphasize that point. During the pandemic, the company’s sales dropped by about 20%. It recently qualified for a federal Paycheck Protection Program loan over a two-week period when the Biden administration restricted the program to companies with 20 or less workers.
Harris also had a virtual conversation with the owners of a vaccine clinic in Fort Lupton, Colorado.
Because of a technical problem with the government plane that flew the vice president to Las Vegas and Los Angeles on Monday, the second day of his tour to publicize the virus relief was canceled. The bulk of her aides, Secret Service, and a small group of reporters were forced to board a crowded cargo plane to carry her to Denver on a smaller backup plane.
Harris cancelled her visit to the vaccine clinic, Plan De Salud Del Valle Inc., due to the plane problem and instead spoke with the clinic’s staff via Zoom. She thanked their efforts, praising the clinic’s focus on supporting minority groups in getting vaccinated.
“From the beginning of this, the President and I have made it one of our highest priorities to ensure that we are taking into account racial inequalities and that we provide people on the ground with the tools they need to achieve equal outcomes,” she said.
ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Since 1782 the majestic bald eagle has been the national bird of the United States. They were on the verge of extinction when the federal government declared them endangered in 1978.
Now, the species has made a remarkable comeback, and spotting them isn’t as rare as it was decades ago. The state of Missouri is sort of a magnet for the birds as they move south for the winter, looking for open water to fish.
There are more than 175 active eagle nests in Missouri. Typically there are more than 2,000 bald eagles spotted during the winter.
Spotting the birds often depends on the weather. Temperatures up north must be cold enough to push the eagles southward. But if a major cold spell freezes most lakes and wetlands, the birds will migrate south.
You can see the birds along the Mississippi River. They are often seen in trees along the banks and near the locks that control the flow of the water.
The Missouri Department of Conservation reports that you can see the eagles in the Kansas City and St. Joseph areas along the Missouri River. They often perch in tall trees looking for prey.
ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – A 66-year-old local man who was reported missing on the morning he was due in court to stand trial for numerous sex crimes has been found dead.
Michael Taber had been staying at an apartment in the 1900 block of Lemay Ferry Road. He went missing around 2 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 29. According to the St Louis County Police Department, Taber left his cellphone and a suicide note behind, as well as an ankle monitor.
Court records indicate Taber was ordered to wear an ankle monitor while awaiting trial in St. Louis City for one count of second-degree statutory rape, two counts of second-degree child molestation, one count of second-degree rape, two counts of second-degree aggravated sexual abuse, one count of second-degree statutory sodomy, and one count of unlawful use of a weapon.
St. Louis County Police sent out a tweet Monday afternoon saying Taber had been located. A department spokesperson said Taber was found dead due to a probable self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Police did not say where Taber’s body was discovered.
ST. LOUIS – There will be a parade of planets this month. December 6-10 you will be able to see three planets and then on December 12 you will be able to see 5. There will be a crescent moon earlier in the month which will provide less moonlight, making it easier to see the planets.
The Missouri Department of Conservation shared this timeline for planet viewing:
The St. Louis Astronomy Facebook page says the best time to observe 5 planets together will be after sunset on December 12. Venus, Saturn, Jupiter, and the moon will be visible to the naked eye. You will need a pair of binoculars or a small telescope to see Neptune, Uranus, Ceres (a dwarf planet), and Pallas (a large asteroid).
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